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Micronutrients are one of the keys to good health and maintaining your brain, muscles, bones, nerves, skin and blood circulation. They are the vitamins and minerals that help to keep our system in check, and we only need small amounts of them. But not getting enough of those small yet essential quantities of nutrients can put us at risk for disease.
Five micronutrients that play a direct role in maintaining your body’s healthy immune system are vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. While they are often sold as immune boosting supplements, health experts recommend getting your vitamins and minerals from natural food sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
“You should ideally try to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through your diet rather than supplements,” says Dr. Howard D. Sesso, associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
With that in mind, check out these foods that can add flavor, zest or excitement to any meal, while also keeping your immune system healthy.
Pork Loin/Vitamin B6
The delicious and lean other white meat is a good source of Vitamin B6. In addition to protecting your immune system, it also has positive effects on metabolism, premenstrual syndrome, emotional disorders and cardiac disease.
Noshing on any wide variety of these juicy bursts of flavor supplies the body with ample amounts of Vitamin C. It not only boosts the immune system but lowers hypertension, prevents and treats scurvy, treats the common cold, and helps to maintain skin elasticity.
Peanut Butter or Almonds/Vitamin E
Eating that spoonful of peanut butter (or handful of almonds for those with peanut allergies) will help you get your daily dose of Vitamin E. Aiding your immune system is just one of this nutrient’s many functions; it also balances cholesterol, fights free radicals and prevents disease development, thickens hair, repairs damaged skin, and improves physical endurance and muscle strength.
Beans, beans, beans are more than just good for your heart. Eating them regularly gives your body the right doses of magnesium. This supporter of the immune system also helps to increases energy, aids digestion by relieving constipation, prevents migraine headaches, relieves muscle aches and spasm, and regulates levels of calcium, potassium and sodium.
Alaskan King Crab/Zinc
This seafood royalty dish isn’t just delicious dipped in hot butter, it also supplies your body with the zinc it demands. And in addition to helping to support the proper functioning of the immune system, this mineral also reduces stress levels, boosts energy metabolism, controls diabetes, and aids in the healing of acne and wounds.
Related: 5 Spices With Brain Health Benefits
Ronke Idowu Reeves is a writer and journalist who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Her news and entertainment stories have appeared on WABC-TV-New York, Fox News Channel, VH1, BET.com plus in Sundance Film Festival’s Sundance Daily Insider and People Magazine.